Korea: Exports continue to plunge
September 17, 2012
In August, exports contracted 6.2% over the same month last year to USD 43.0 billion, following a downward trend initiated at the start of the year and only briefly interrupted in February and June this year, according to data released by the Korea Customs Service (KCS). The reading followed the 8.8% decline recorded in July, and was broadly in line with market expectations. Sluggish global demand, together with intensifying tensions in the Eurozone continue to hurt Korea's external sector. According to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE), exports contracted across most sectors. Exports of ships and wireless communication devices registered the largest drops over the same month last year. Imports fell a deeper 9.8% year-on-year in August, the sharpest drop recorded since October 2009, to USD 40.9 billion, following a 5.5% drop in July. As a result, the trade surplus narrowed to USD 2.0 billion in August, which was, nonetheless, well above the USD 410 million surplus recorded in the same month last year.